Great Capabilities to Improve

Integrated ecosystems sustain life and provide us with an amazing habitat. People and the ecosystems we live in, in this Digital Age, have great capabilities to improve and sustain the quality of life for all.

As we face and urgently need to deal with many societal challenges, we need a climate for change. Various of such societal challenges can be identified in the domains of manufacturing, supply chains, logistics, maintenance and related industry domains.

As these domains will remain essential parts of our society and economy, a climate for change in these essential parts of our ecosystems is needed as well. Safe, trusted and trustworthy Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other or related knowledge, processes, technologies, human intelligence and experience may be an excellent enabler and facilitator to help cater for and sustain such future-proof ecosystems.

The whole supply ecosystem, including sourcing, engineering, manufacturing, assembling, logistics and the like, as well as the related organisations, professionals, partners and customer involved, and the respective societies, ecology and economy can benefit from access to, use and exchange of data, information, knowledge and experience. Digital platforms, AI, intelligent systems, cognitive (edge and IoT) computing, robotic process automation (RPA), cobots, distributed intelligence and autonomous systems are further expediting this process by connecting, inter-connecting respectively hyper-connecting organizations, individuals, communities, societies and data with tens of billions of objects and entities.

Where To Start?

What can an entrepreneur, company, sector, community or other groups in manufacturing, industry and related sectors and domains do to create overall positive impact while also having a viable and economically sustainable value model, with related business models and (financial and other) feasibility models to get things both started, going, trusted, growing, scaling, resilient and future-proof? Having a big vision and focusing on the horizon is important, but having a clear starting point is one of the main prerequisite success factors.

With that in mind, it is recommended to start with identifying and establishing the particular challenge(s) one would like to focus on, for instance by using the 12 Societal Challenges for Future of Living, as visualised below. These are in line with both the vision of the European Commission as well as the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These Societal Challenges are obviously intertwined and interconnected.


Intertwined Societal Challenges for Future of Living

Let’s have a closer look to Societal Challenges: Demography respectively Skills & Jobs. Where and why may AI in Industry 5.0 context be valuable, appreciated and even necessary? First some backgrounds:

A.    Societal Challenge Nr. 4: Demography

Within the European Union, there is a decline in working-age population. It’s expected to reduce by 13.5 million (or 4%) by 2030 compared to 2018. This, as the EU population size will shrink by 5% between 2019 and 2070, to 424 million inhabitants, the development of shorter working weeks could cause a 2% reduction in labour supply.

The EU’s demographic ratio between people above 65 years old and those aged 20-64 are expected to increase from a one-to-four ratio 2010, to a one-to-(less than)-two in 2070.

B.    Societal Challenge Nr. 11: Skills & Jobs

According to the OECD, 65% of the kids in schools today will have jobs that haven’t been invented yet. This indicates that we apparently are not yet sure what the future will look like, but that we do for sure acknowledge society will look very differently in a decade. The World Economic Forum points out that among the top 10 most essential skills of the near future are: analytical thinking, empathy, creativity, reasoning, complex problem-solving, self-management, and technology development and use.

Clearly, this list resembles a more intertwined combination of both the right part of the brain with the left part, than currently commonly seems the case.

These two Societal Challenges and backgrounds already demonstrate that AI in Industry 5.0 context may be valuable, appreciated and even necessary to address these societal challenges in industry and related society and economy:

  • A.    When focusing on the Societal Challenge of Demography, combining and deploying innovative processes, data and technologies to augment the capabilities of people, industry, supply side and demand side can be a helpful mechanism to compensate this expected decrease in productivity and levels of welfare and quality of life.
  • B.    When focusing on the Societal Challenge of Skills & Jobs, three questions that come to mind are (i) how will the future of work change the industrial sector, and the looks of our urban and rural societies, (ii) how to keep the veins of trade and human values running through our communities, and (iii) whether technology will displace more jobs in 10 years than it creates, or vice versa. With all these questions raised, what role will and can AI play in combination with human interaction?

Human-centric AI capabilities for Industry 5.0

The above does not only demonstrate that there are huge potential and markets for AI and related intelligent systems. It also demonstrates that there is a need for AI- and other technology-supported H2M, M2H, H2M2M and other interaction, communication and cooperation to help address the current and upcoming challenges, avoid social disruption, and improve social prosperity.

Safe, trusted and trustworthy human-centred AI with human and other European and universal values embedded by design can in our view for sure be a great component for enabling and facilitating a future-proof Climate for Change in the Industry 5.0 and related domains. This is exactly why STAR can accelerate the transition towards human-centric AI in manufacturing, and beyond.

With this, the European stakeholders, society and economy can build, deploy, use, enjoy and even export the most trustworthy human-centric AI for Industry 5.0 and related digital (eco)systems and services all over the world. As Commissioner Breton formulates: ‘Europe has everything it takes to lead the technology race’. In our own words: Europe has great capabilities.

But how to make that work? We will discuss this in our subsequent blogs, so please stay tuned.